Amid new claims of two stolen Pablo Piacsso paintings (Woman Combing Her Hair, 1957, and Espagnole à l’éventai, 1957) from Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay, the art dealer Oliver Thomas has been indicted.
Hutin-Blay has accused Thomas of stealing three works of her mother (Jacqueline Roque) by the artist, which she had entrusted to the “freeport king” Yves Bouvier – who was made famous by the leaked papers of Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonesca, detailing his dubious dealings with Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev (pictured) – to whom these paintings were also sold for $27 million (thanks to Bouvier – who coincidentally had to pay a fine for precisely the same amount). Bouvier would have collected between €8 and €10 million for the sale, and Thomas will have received a commission of two percent. Rybolovlev returned the paintings immediately to the Brigade de Repression du Banditisme.
The trouble for Thomas first started back last May, when he was first detained by French authorities after an art conservator alerted authorities of the paintings existence, as Yves Bouvier hired him to clean them. However Thomas claimed the paintings in question “meant nothing to him.” However the investigation remained on –going and detectives have now found photos of the stolen paintings on his laptop that appear to have been taken by himself.
Thomas has now been indicted in Paris by judge Isabelle Rich-Flament for “abuse of trust, fraud, concealment, and laundering” to the cost of Hutin-Blay. Thomas still claims he has not seen the paintings before, despite the Jutice’s insistence to the contrary.